|SPRINGFIELD, IL - The Illinois State Police (ISP) and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) announced today end-of-season plans to increase safety in highway construction and maintenance zones for motorists and workers.|
As part of the effort, the ISP will adopt a tough, zero tolerance – no warning — policy for violations of the “fatal five” in constructions zones. “Fatal five” traffic law violations - common contributing causes of fatal crashes – are speeding, improper lane usage, following too closely, driving under the influence, and failure to wear seat belts. State police officials said zero tolerance for DUI and seat belt violations extend beyond the construction zones.
“The fall effort supports state police and IDOT goals to reduce deaths and injuries on our highways,” said ISP Director Sam W. Nolen. “Provisional traffic fatality statistics indicate overall deaths are down this year, but they are up in construction zones. We also want to set the stage for next year’s construction season by sending a strong message about the importance of obeying traffic laws while in construction zones.”
Provisional figures indicate 46 fewer persons have died on Illinois roads so far this year (987) compared to the same period in 1999 (1,033 deaths). During 1999, there were 17 construction zone fatalities, and so far this year there have been 25 deaths.
IDOT Secretary Kirk Brown said, “Fall is traditionally a busy time as crews complete end-of-season highway construction projects. We can save lives in construction zones if drivers obey laws and stay alert.”
The fall campaign will include additional enforcement patrols, including the use of airplanes to monitor speeding vehicles in construction zones. Though the state police have conducted airspeed details for years, the Department only recently began using airplanes for construction zone speed enforcement.
The Illinois State Police has issued more than 262,000 speeding tickets in the first seven months of 2000, including 2,777 speeding arrests made in construction zones as part of IDOT-funded enforcement details. Persons convicted of speeding through construction and maintenance zones face a minimum $150 fine (double the fine for speeding outside the zone.) Additionally, court supervision is not available to those drivers ticketed in construction zones, and violators must appear in court.